Greene Co. tornado victims waiting on federal, state help

LEAKESVILLE, MS (WLOX) - Monday, federal and state damage assessment teams hit the streets of Leakesville to get a clearer picture of the destruction left by last week's tornado. A 160 mile per hour twister tossed homes, uprooted trees and created lots of debris.

The massive cleanup in the small town is now in its third day.

"We got 55 homes that are either major or destroyed," Emergency Management Director Trent Robertson said. "We got 25 with minor damage and 27 that have been affected."

Willis Box's home was one of those destroyed.

"It is real bad, everything bad. This whole building has to come down," Box said.

He worked all day to clean up and hopes to rebuild, but admits he doesn't have insurance.

"I feel kind of bad, ya know. But I guess I will survive."

A few blocks down, Shawn Hopson's house was a total wreck. His ceiling had collapsed and there was debris scattered throughout the home.

"I would say a little over $100,000 worth of damages," Hopson said.

Hopson said he had insurance during Hurricane Katrina, but doesn't now. Both men are counting on FEMA and MEMA to help.

"I am praying, not just hoping, I am praying that FEMA will help us out this time."

FEMA's Eugene Brezany, his team, and MEMA went around town viewing just how serious the damage is in the area.

"We are seeing lot debris, and a lot of damage to homes. To what extent, that will require federal and state assistance. I can't tell you," Brezany said. "But we are assembling a picture for the Governor for review. The state will be in charge of seeing what further action may need to be taken."

Brezany said FEMA hopes to get a clearer picture of the need here this week. He knows quick results are important when you are dealing with destruction on almost every corner.

"If this were my house and my neighborhood, this is a bad as it can get; this is terribly destructive."

MEMA's Executive Director Mike Womack was also in Greene County meeting with city and county leaders about providing emergency resources and manpower. He said MEMA and FEMA will travel to Hinds and Kemper counties Tuesday; those areas also received a lot of tornado damage.

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